Mountain Biking on Bolivia’s Death Road

Travel

After lunch we took off and stopped shortly after. The temperature started to change suddenly as we descended some more. Our guide suggested we take off the jacket and pants we had on over our clothes because it would become humid in just a few miles. Not a minute down the road I crashed in my t-shirt! I was picking up speed over some very large rocks and trying my best to maintain control of my bike when I hit a rock just right and came thundering down over a sea of boulders! I fell to my right, did my best to roll, and got knocked in the head by the handlebars. I moved to the side of the road with my bike and let the other riders go. Road rash was all long my right side and back. The guide in the very back leaped off his bike and not far behind was the van. My guide and driver cleaned up my wounds, bandaged me up, and asked me if I wanted to keep going and I said yup and got back on my bike!

Not long down the road it got startlingly hot and humid, it went from cool mountainous weather to tropical in no time. At the next checkpoint my group was waiting for my guide and me to catch up. We looked over a now tropical valley of mountains below covered in coffee fields. At some point in the last leg of the ride we rode through shallow flowing water which was trickier than it looked then reached a town called Yolosa where the ride ends. We took off all our gear and loaded the bikes onto the vans. There is a small store that sells snacks and sodas to all the riders at very end. There is also an option to zip line at an extra cost. After the vans are loaded up we have the opportunity to rest at La Senda Verde Cabins and Animal Refuge which was a real treat. We got a free glass of beer, buffet pasta dinner, hot water for showers, a t-shirt saying we went on Death Road, and the opportunity to meet a lot of cute and interesting animals! At the time when I went, a male monkey had been on the loose so the usual option to swim in the river was not available. Lots of parrots, monkeys, turtles, dogs, and mammals I can’t identify were allowed to roam free! Any food leftover from our buffet fed the animals and anything we bought from their restaurant went to helping the animals. It was such a fun and relaxing way to end our ride and I wished we had more time to spend there. There is an option to be left there to stay overnight or longer, which I highly recommend.

Before we left my guide helped me re-bandage my wounds and the guide for the other group asked me if I was OK. I would later find out he was the owner of Gravity! I figured the guy who owned it wouldn’t be doing the rides but there he was!

On the way back we drove back up Death Road and it was awesome! The fog had cleared and we could see the drops and places where we had to do weird maneuvers. A few of us bought bottles of beer to drink on the way back, which is legal in Bolivia. For the record our driver didn’t have a drop. Two little kids around the age of 5 were watching our van on the side of the road. One of our guides gave them two chocolate bars and they jumped up and down screaming with excitement.

The drive back was 4 hours long, we had an option to be dropped off at our hostels/hotels or go back to the office to pick up our DVD of pictures and videos that was included with the ride!

It was the best possible way to be introduced to mountain biking! It was a full on day of exhausting fun with meals and transportation included for just 750 bolivianos or about $110! A total bargain! I recommend this ride to anyone even remotely interested in bikes!

For more info about Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking – Bolivia, please visit their website: www.gravitybolivia.com. “Provides descriptions of the different mountain biking possibilities around La Paz, Bolivia.”

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About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato has been the Site Manager of Mtbr.com for over 12 years and enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.



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  • tc on li says:

    wow if I ever make a bucket list this ride will be on it

  • Roy Reichwein says:

    My son and I did this last year. We went with Xtreme Downhill. The cost was similar. The bikes were bullet proof. The gear was great. The guides were expert and fun. The downhill was awesome. I can highly recommend Xtreme Downhill for this.

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